Netflix’s ‘Archive 81’ Is the First Binge-Worthy Horror Series of 2022

In Storage 81, cinema is the portal to other worlds figuratively and literally. The notion that movies are a shipping portal isn’t particularly new – especially in the horror genre – but host Rebecca Sonnenshine and executive producer of James Wan’s eight-part Netflix series (based on on the podcast of the same name by Daniel Powell and Marc Sollinger) still sees new ways to liven up its basic idea, while paying homage to the terrifying ancestors who paved the way for the sinister tale of it’s about a young man tasked with recovering videotapes of a disaster that befell the community decades ago. Using a kitchen approach to scary storytelling, it intelligently and delightfully revives and reinvents, things that have come before.

Following in the footsteps of John Carpenter Master of Horror anthology entry Cigarette Burns, By David Cronenberg Videodrome, Joel Schumacher’s 8mm, by Hideo Nakata Ringu and Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio-as Blair Witch Project and its legion of descendants (notably V / H / WILL Franchising)-Storage 81 (January 14) represents the ordeal of Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), an employee at the Queens Museum of the Moving Image, New York, where he is best known for restoring and digitizing old damaged films broken. With patient and meticulous care, he disassembles, cleans and restores ravaged celluloid and VHS material, bringing age-old relics back to life. In his specialty, Dan is contacted by Virgil Davenport (Martin Donovan), who runs a mysterious company called LMG, about a private job: move to a remote Catskills research facility and fix a a collection of camcorders shot by Melody. Pendras (Dina Shihabi), who in 1994 was making a documentary about the Visser apartment building in Manhattan when it caught fire.

Mark (Matt McGworthy) best friend Dan is the host of a ghostly voiced podcast Mysterious signal, accepted the offer, and quickly opened up shop in Davenport’s quaint concrete-walled establishment, wallowing in Melody’s recordings. So Storage 81 establishes its basic setting, with Dan acting as both the viewer and spiritual collaborator of Melody, whose nonfiction he is helping complete.

However, what he discovered in Melody’s tape was more than he bargained for, as Melody’s time at Visser led to some surprising revelations, starting with the fact that many people People like to gather together for rhythmic chanting, hu hu and humming in devoted prayer. to a monstrous statue like amnesiac cultists. With the help of 14-year-old Jess (Ariana Neal), who was her tour guide, Melody has met many of these people, none more charming and welcoming than Samuel (Evan Jonigkeit). Alas, Melody quickly realizes that Samuel may be surrounded by this secret army, whose activities may also take place on the forbidden sixth floor, as well as having something to do with the family. Vos is rich, where his mansion burned down. ground in 1924 and was replaced by Visser.

The more Dan watches Melody’s tapes, the more he becomes drawn into her investigation of Visser – and thus the more he suspects the motives of Davenport, whose LMG is a shadow corporation and research vault equipped with security cameras (the better for Davenport to keep an eye on his employees) and filled with secret rooms, hidden passageways, and off-limits basements. Furthermore, Dan soon learns that he can be connected to Melody through his father, Dr. Steven Turner (Charlie Hudson III), who died along with the rest of the Dan clan in a mysterious fire. strange. The deceased are always present and noisy in Storage 81, and Sonnenshine continues to highlight the popular mood through references to many supernatural classics — by Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House—Involves haunted houses, grieving loners, and restless ghosts.

By Rebecca Thomas (Strange things), Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson (Endlessness, Coming of Marvel Moonlight Knight) and Haifaa Al-Mansour (Mary Shelley), Storage 81 looks great and moves with urgency, and it piles up with respect (my favorite is the nod to Daniel Mann in 1971). Willard) and supernatural elements with a sense of fascination. The Totemic Temple, Satanic rituals, ancient artifacts, scapegoats, human sacrifices, tarot cards, exorcisms, witchcraft, time travel, parallel dimensions, and snuff movies are all one and the same. part in its devilish package. Still images and VHS images are murky, too, making the action add an unsettling layer of blur. Sonnenshine and company, however, don’t put too much emphasis on gimmicks about their found footage; The further the show goes on a tangled path, the more it presents Melody’s predicament in its traditional form, thus creating a dual narrative that evolves in unpredictable and twisting ways. .

The Totemic Temple, Satanic rituals, ancient artifacts, scapegoats, human sacrifices, tarot cards, exorcisms, witchcraft, time travel, parallel dimensions, and snuff movies are all one and the same. part in its devilish package.

Not every development in Storage 81 seems to make complete sense, but this series strikes an interesting balance between allowing audiences to stay one step ahead of its story and delivering surprising bombshells and twists. The children’s complicated feelings about the loss of a parent – whom they want to believe is good, despite evidence to the contrary – are just another layer to this surprisingly rich endeavor, led by the screenplay. Athie’s strong performance as the cinematic Dan (whose pet is Circle, a lost black-and-white film involving the Visser clan and the Vos clan) and Shihabi as Melody is determined to probe, determined to uncover the truth about Visser and its connection to her own legacy. It’s their turn to keep Storage 81 from falling into a complicated rut, providing a basic measure of the person around which the madness of the show can smoothly and wildly swing.

At the heart of Sonnenshine’s story is the power of motion pictures (and its supporting soundtracks)—a compelling force capable of conjuring alternate realities, where the wildest dreams and Our worst nightmare can come true. That is at once a description, and theme, of this innovative Netflix series, whose winding plot ultimately leads to a madness out there involving comets, possession, demons, and a long unfinished silent documentary that is both a template and a conduit for the apocalyptic hellfire. A playful tribute to the dangerous allure of films, which require close, haunting scrutiny – even if, as it suggests, the consequences of doing so can be deadly. .


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